BREAKING NEWS A woman is dead after a car crash in Huntington County Sunday evening. Full Story

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on medical marijuana: We are in an age of wisdom, but also an age of foolishness

For some people, CBD has been a lifesaver. For others, what they thought was CBD almost killed them. A CNN special report, hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, takes you inside the booming and unregulated CBD industry -- Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

Posted: Sep 27, 2019 10:40 AM

When we released "Weed" in 2013, few people had ever heard of cannabidiol, or CBD. Now, two-thirds of Americans are familiar with the compound, and 1 in 7 have tried it. Most of the country, 93%, are in favor of medical marijuana and hemp-derived CBD itself, which has less than 0.3% THC, has been legalized in every state.

It's not just public perception. The science over the last six years has grown by leaps and bounds, as well. Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil, went through clinical trials and is being prescribed for thousands of patients with seizures. The founder of GW Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Epidiolex, told me they are now developing cannabis medications for everything from autism to anxiety.

The lives of characters we introduced you to in "Weed" have completely changed, as well. The Stanley brothers of Colorado -- who literally bet the farm on CBD and couldn't even afford a reliable car six years ago -- now grow CBD on 800 acres in three states and have a marijuana empire worth an estimated $2 billion.

And Charlotte, sweet Charlotte Figi. Soon after birth, she started having seizures. By age 3, she was having 300 seizures a week, despite having tried more than half a dozen medications. Her mother, Paige, worried her daughter would stop breathing one day or go into cardiac arrest. Charlotte was not expected to live past her 8th birthday. Today, she's 12, and has only two or three seizures a month, despite being off all of her other seizure medications. The only thing she takes is a CBD oil, called Charlotte's Web. She represents countless patients who are alive today because of this plant, and this plant alone.

For many in the medical marijuana community, these last few years have been the realization of a dream they never really believed was possible. But, there is a funny thing about dreams. As beautiful as they are, they are often fragile and ready to tear at the seams.

Here is where the cannabis story took an awkward, ill-conceived and sometimes ugly turn.

A bold promise, hijacked

Last year, in a single moment, the legislation around CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, changed. With the passage of the Farm Bill, hemp, defined as any cannabis plant with 0.3% THC or less, became legal to grow, sell, and consume. For the cannabis community, it was like suddenly drinking from a fire hose in the middle of a drought. One day, it was taboo wrapped in decades of stigma, and now it is sold at the corner store.

There are CBD-infused oils, mints, cheeseburgers, vitamin waters, shampoos and even sportswear. Most of this stuff couldn't possibly offer the human body any benefit. Without the respect of being treated like the medicine it is, or reasonable regulation when it is purchased as a supplement, CBD has been hijacked by unscrupulous actors peddling crooked, corrupt and contaminated products. They're making a quick buck and disappearing into the ether without a trace.

It was really discouraging to see the results of a recent study in the medical journal JAMA where researchers analyzed 84 CBD products from 31 companies and found 69% were mislabeled. Some of the products had no CBD at all, some had too much CBD, some too much THC.

Others studies showed that some CBD products contained dangerous synthetics that have been responsible for outbreaks of illness all over the country. The legitimate vendors of CBD, who took the time to ensure consistency, safety and quality, are now sadly lumped together with the dishonest and dodgy ones, leaving the consumer confused about where to turn.

The general attitude we have long heard from CBD consumers is they think the product "might help, can't hurt, why not." But, when you can't even count on the authenticity or safety of the product you are buying, that is no longer the case.

In our latest investigation, "Weed 5: The CBD Craze," we take you on board the cannabis rocket ship, that shot us from a barren wasteland of prohibition to the Wild West of the CBD craze, and we reveal exactly how we got here. We also provide a roadmap to help you navigate the landscape of CBD, including understanding how to read a "certificate of analysis" and determining what is legal and what isn't.

A story of facts, not faith

With the release of my first "Weed" documentary and op-ed in 2013, some say I became an advocate for medical marijuana. At first I recoiled. To me and my journalist friends and colleagues, "advocacy" can be a dirty word. No doubt, it is sometimes necessary, to champion causes that would otherwise get little attention. To some, however, advocacy implies a certain lack of objectivity, a blind faith. Is that what happened with "Weed"?

There's one thing I can't stress enough: The core story of cannabis has never required me or anyone else to follow blindly. With medical marijuana, you aren't asked to sacrifice your objectivity or your skepticism. You too will discover it if you diligently study the evidence from all over the world, spend days in the lab to really understand the cannabis molecules -- and visit patients whose lives truly depend on it.

The real story of cannabis has always been rooted in facts, not faith.

With the series of "Weed," films, I wanted to shine a light on what would have been obvious, if people had taken the time to look. Echo chambers exist, even in the world of science. I wanted to show you that these chambers can grow bigger and louder with each generation that neglects to challenge them. For too long, the real story of cannabis was drowned out in those echo chambers. Marijuana was preordained as having "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse" despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. My team and I wanted you to hear the other side, the voices that had been drowned out by decades of this noise.

Let science lead the way

Over the last six years, I have continued to read constantly, discuss the latest scientific developments with researchers and spend hours with patients to really understand their experience with cannabis as a medication. Through it all, however, there has been something else nagging at me.

I realized that CBD has become such a convenient political narrative, so easy to rally behind. Maybe too easy.

Indeed, CBD alone doesn't make you high. You don't have to smoke it. And the people it has helped the most are little kids like Charlotte. But that was never supposed to be the entire story. After all, "Weed" wasn't just about CBD, it was about weed, the entire cannabis plant, comprised of hundreds of potentially therapeutic ingredients. And yes, one of those is THC, which to this day remains demonized with the rest of the cannabis plant as a federally illegal (Schedule 1) substance, even though it too has shown promise as an effective medicine.

We are in an age of wisdom, but also an age of foolishness. We have made great strides with medical marijuana, but we've also repeated some of the same mistakes that led cannabis to be vilified and misunderstood in the first place. Hype and echo chambers are never a friend to science or clear-eyed thinking.

Make no mistake: Cannabis is a medicine. Over the last six years, through countless articles and essays, and now five documentary films, my team and I have made that case and we have provided the proof. At times, it can heal when nothing else can. Denying people this substance represents a moral issue just as much as a medical one.

I have always let science and facts lead the way. That isn't advocacy; that is speaking truth to power. But yes, when you are certain of the evidence and people's lives depend on it, then shout it from the rooftops, trumpet it loudly in medical conferences and make sure the world knows. If being called an advocate means you took the time to faithfully learn the issues, allowed yourself to change and even admit where you were wrong, then I will proudly own the title and honorably wear the badge.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1385749

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1538881574
Cuyahoga1358332341
Hamilton987081326
Montgomery679671161
Summit568451051
Lucas51531869
Butler48000663
Stark42232983
Lorain32046539
Warren30404338
Mahoning27463643
Clermont25990297
Lake24809422
Delaware22566147
Licking20767246
Fairfield20730223
Greene20611275
Trumbull20257516
Medina20074290
Clark18170332
Richland16680236
Portage16389231
Wood15926209
Allen14333261
Miami14018261
Muskingum12927155
Wayne12185244
Columbiana11980242
Tuscarawas11204271
Marion10908150
Pickaway10606129
Scioto10531127
Erie9864171
Ross9612177
Lawrence8934125
Hancock8603143
Ashtabula8474187
Geauga8251156
Belmont8236188
Jefferson7691175
Huron7537131
Union742651
Washington7380126
Athens709365
Sandusky6963135
Darke6875137
Knox6812122
Seneca6519137
Ashland6051115
Auglaize595388
Shelby5820104
Brown575372
Mercer565190
Defiance5564101
Crawford5563117
Madison551071
Highland549282
Fulton542583
Clinton533781
Logan518687
Preble5102111
Putnam4900107
Guernsey484364
Williams468982
Perry462254
Champaign454264
Ottawa442484
Jackson434563
Pike398345
Morrow396451
Coshocton391969
Fayette383753
Adams369275
Hardin366170
Gallia355458
Holmes3321111
Henry329869
Van Wert320771
Hocking310770
Wyandot285458
Carroll266352
Paulding246443
Meigs221742
Monroe192749
Noble174142
Morgan170029
Harrison160741
Vinton141319
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 60°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 60°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 60°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 63°
Monday is another nice and breezy day with warmer temperatures.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events